Postgraduate study

Particle Physics

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

Programme website: Particle Physics

Exploring nature at the tiniest scale, the Particle Physics group seeks to add to our understanding of the make-up of our universe.

By joining our research group, you will be following in the footsteps of our celebrated emeritus professor, Peter Higgs, whose groundbreaking Higgs mechanism has excited the world of physics for decades and has been the focus of operations at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

You will also have the opportunity to confer and work with some of the greatest minds in physics today, through our links with leading conferences and international facilities.

Our research group works in two areas: Theory and Experiment.

Particle Physics – Theory

This research concerns fundamental physics at all energy scales, from hadronic binding energy to the massive forces at play in the first instants of the universe’s existence.

We collaborate with leading facilities, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the WMAP and Planck satellites.

Our current research explores developments in both perturbative and non-perturbative field theory, renormalization theory and the application of quantum theory to other branches of physics, such as turbulence theory and condensed matter systems.

Particle Physics – Experiment

We look to understand the fundamental particles of nature and the interactions that govern their behaviour.

In particular, from understanding the symmetries present in the universe, we seek to explain the dominance of matter over anti-matter, and mechanisms of symmetry-breaking that led to the creation of mass via the Higgs boson and non-Standard Model particles.

Researchers from our group are working on two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, the LHCb experiment and the ATLAS experiment.

In addition to research, our students attend a wide range of lectures and participate in international conferences.

The Particle Physics group offers prospective PhD students exciting opportunities to study at the very frontier of understanding. Fully funded studentships are available for a wide range of theoretical and experimental projects, plus opportunities to travel to CERN for long and short visits.

The minimum entry requirement is a UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in Physics.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

  • School of Physics & Astronomy
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Physics & Astronomy
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD